Friday, May 24, 2013

The Countdown Is On...

Last year's Volcom Fiji Pro was considered the best pro contest of the year. I was so stoked to be a part of it with Give Clean Water. The 2 villages and 2 schools where we installed water filters are working at 100% capacity thanks to our partnership with the Fiji Ministry of Health. Their health workers have done a great job all year with monthly follow ups and continued education in the villages.

This year, the 2013 addition of the Volcom Fiji Pro promises to be another great event! Give Clean Water will be teaming up with Volcom, Tavarua Island, Island's Restaurants, and Surf Credits for another day of service in 2 more villages and schools! This year one of the highlights will be installing filters in the Chief of Tavarua's home village of Cuvu! We're looking forward to a great day of service with the top 34 surfers in the world, plus event sponsors!

You can check out all the action of the contest on the Volcom Fiji Pro website. Check out the Give Clean Water project there too as it unfolds.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Building 2 Houses in One Weekend!

One of my favorite things to do is building houses for the poor in Mexico with Amor Ministries! I had the privilege of working there for 8 years, my wife worked there for 12 years, and they are simply the best at what they do!

This weekend, a group from Newbreak Church will BE the church and head down to the Tijuana/Tecate area of Baja and change two family's lives forever. They will go from a make-shift, inadequate shelter, to a brand new house!

Besides giving the gift of clean drinking water to people around the world, building houses for the poor is right up at the top of my list!

One of the families we are building for is the Herrera family. They live in a community called "Canon de la Raza" on the East side of Tijuana, at the base of a mountain called Cerro Colorado. When traveling in Tijuana you can't miss this great mountain, as it has giant lettering written on it, "Jesus es el SeƱor", which means...Jesus is Lord.

The Herrera family is still paying for their land and have a stable source of income, although it is only about a $2 per hour job. Maria works at home and Eddi makes furniture. They currently live in one room with a poor roof, floor and walls. They do not have electricity, drinkable water, a telephone, or a car.

They already sent Newbreak a little note..."God bless you for this house and the help. Thank you!"

Way to go Newbreak! Way to build hope for these two families!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

What if this came out of your tap?

We take for granted that we can walk into our kitchen, turn on the tap, and drink the water. I remember some warm summer days as a kid when we drank from the garden hose. It's always been like that if you live where we do.

Now imagine going to your tap and turning it on and this is what came out. There is no way we'd drink that! If you are honest, most of us are so spoiled we would not even drink the treated water that comes from our tap.

The fact is, most of the world drinks water like this, but they don't have the luxury of having a tap. They get it right from a river or dirty catchment device. That is the reason water-borne diseases are the number one killer in the world. It's not cancer. It's not heart disease. It's dirty, bacteria filled water.

Does that bother you? It bothers me!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Loving Our Community

I love it that at Newbreak Church, we love on our communities. A couple of weeks ago, the Newbreak Scripps Mesa campus took part in the San Diego Creek to Bay clean up. Our area of town focused on Hage Elementary school where we organized 100 volunteers to beautify the Hage Elementary school campus. In 3 hours, we painted the outside lunch tables, painted the entry way planters, painted the back walls of the campus, and painted the entry gates to the school...all in school colors. We also bagged up over 100 trash bags of trash and weeds! It's amazing what a few hours can do.

This coming Friday night, we'll team up with the Wangenheim Middle School PTA for their Spring Carnival. Newbreak Scripps Mesa will provide free face painting and balloon art, working the game booths, as well as the providing the 80's band...Van Duran. The carnival is from 5pm to 8pm and is a great, family friendly event.

All this is our way of showing some of God's love to our community. BEING the church in our community is what we do, and we do this stuff all the time! Don't even get me started on all the social injustices we are tackling in our local communities and around the world! Want to see more? Check out the outreach page of the Newbreak Church website. Don't forget to visit our partner's page too!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Anyone for an Extreme Fiji Trip?

I just spoke with my friend Naidu in Fiji. He did some work for Give Clean Water when we first got started in 2008 and 2009. He has worked his way up in the educational system of Fiji and has been a high school principal in several schools. His latest assignment...bringing top notch education to the 5th largest Fijian island, Gau (pronounced...Now).

There are 22 traditional Fijian villages on this island with one boarding high school. The amenities on the island are still very primitive. All of the villages drink water from catchment when they can, but mostly from a river source.

Naidu is the only person on this island with a Give Clean Water  filter. He still has his after almost 5 years and it is working great. He has a dream to bring clean drinking water to his island. Just the thought of it gives me chills. This would be a really amazing opportunity to supply an entire island with clean drinking water!

Anyone up for an extreme trip to Fiji in 2014? There is one flight a week to the island of Gau, on Tuesdays. I'd love to put at least 10 clean water filters in each one of these villages. That would be plenty to supply everyone with clean drinking water.

Who thinks this would be epic?

Friday, May 10, 2013

More Partnerships with Give Clean Water


We're less than a month away from a very special event in Fiji. The 2013 Volcom Fiji Pro features 34 of the top surfers in the world at one of the world's best surf spots, Tavarua Island, home to Cloudbreak and Restaurants.

While the contest is amazing, I'm most excited about the lives that will be changed during this contest! Give Clean Water is teaming up with Volcom, Tavarua Island, Islands Restaurants, Surf Credits, and the Fiji Ministry of Health to bring the gift of clean, bacteria free drinking water to two more Fijian villages.

During last year's event, Momi and Nabila village each received filters for every family who lives there. Thanks to this great partnership and our commitment to sustainability, I'm happy to report that both Momi and Nabila have 100% use of their filters at their 1 year anniversary! A special "thank you" to the Fiji Ministry of Health and their wonderful village health workers who have been so diligent with monthly follow up education and reporting in the villages. There has been an amazing turn around in the health of the villages thanks to the water filters!

Here's a look back at last year's event!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Free Photography Class Update

So here's the scoop on the Free Photography Class I'm teaching. It will be Saturday, May 18th, 9am - 11am at Tideland's Park in Coronado. There are 9 people signed up so far, but it's open to whoever wants to come.

Bring your camera, a tripod, and a chair.

This will be a class to help you get your camera out of "Auto" mode and really start capturing some great images. Bring a friend!

Here is a map to Tidelands Park. As you cross over the Coronado Bridge, take the first right towards Glorietta Blvd.
At the first stop sign, turn right and go all the way back to the Tidelands Park parking lot. Head over near the children's playground. We'll meet up there and find a spot for the class.

This is one of my favorite spots to photograph. Here's a shot I took from this spot.

Hope you can make it!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Make Your Words Count

Yesterday I was at the Starbucks in Mira Mesa (my second office) meeting with a couple of leaders from the Newbreak Scripps Mesa campus. We were discussing leadership ideas from the Ken Blanchard's book, Lead Like Jesus. Ken is a business leadership guru who is from the San Diego area, and brings a Christian perspective to leadership, one that is working for many fortune 500 companies.

At the end of my second meeting, We got up from our table and headed for the car. I noticed that as I got up, another guy sitting next to us got up, and followed us to the parking lot. I stopped at the entry of the parking lot and turned around, and noticed the guy following us stopped. Then he just stared at me. It was a little weird, so I asked if I could help the mid-twenties looking guy.

He said that he just wanted to meet me...weirder. Then he asked if I was some sort of Life Coach or something? I said "Sort of...I'm a pastor...why do you ask?" He said he was kind of eaves dropping on my meetings and was really getting into the concepts we were talking about in Ken's book. I thought that was cool since the whole discussion really was about how Jesus lead his disciples.

We talked for a minute, then I invited him to church this weekend. I told him if he came, we could set up a time to talk about leadership concepts and share some book ideas for him to read. He seemed like he was all-over-it. We'll see on Sunday.

Then he asked my name. I said "Darrel". Then he pointed to me and said "Darrel", then pointed to himself and said "Larson". That was weird as I thought he just used his super powers on me and somehow knew my last name. Turns out...Larson was his first name. What the heck?! I've never met someone with a first name of Larson!

Interesting encounter. Life Coach or Pastor...I guess you could say they are kind of the same thing. The take away for never know who is listening, so make your words count. I hope to see Larson this Sunday! Definitely looking forward to more meetings in the courtyard at Starbucks. Can't wait to sit in the middle and make my words count. God moment!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Free Photography Class Anyone? Read on...

As many of you know, photography is one of my favorite things. My specialty is tropical landscapes, and I have the number 1 "tropical photos" website in the world... at least Google thinks so. :)

Truth is... I love all types of photography. One of my favorite things is teaching others how to use their cameras.

The AUTO mode can be fun at first, but let's face it, you need to learn to tell your camera what to do because it's just not that smart on its own. That can be a scary, overwhelming thought...but it doesn't have to be.

If you search through my blog archives, all the way to the beginning, you'll find a series of photo tips that will help you get the most out of your camera. There are 30+ of them.

If you are like me though, I like "Hands On" learning, so every once in a while, I offer a free, "Hands On" photography class where we go out into the field, teach, and practice what we just learned.

So...what do you think? Comment on this post if you would be up for a free Saturday morning photo shoot, on location at one of San Diego's prime photo spots.

Keep tuned in for time and place. This is a great class to invite your friends to!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Clean Water For The Children

On a recent trip to Fiji, I was stunned as I spoke with one of the local Doctors. While our Give Clean Water team was driving to Belabelo Village, she told us that she had just had 2 moms come to her clinic, bringing their babies who were dead on arrival. Both babies died from severe dehydration that was caused from diarrhea, which was caused by a water borne bacteria.

Stories like these are so tragic, but they are all too common around the world. Something as simple as a clean drink of water seems so distant for some.

Give Clean Water is on a mission to eradicate water borne sickness in Fiji. Focusing on the 1200 rural villages who do not drink clean water, we want to make sure no more children die unnecessary deaths.

It's a true joy when we visit a village, and in a matter of hours, change their lives forever. The kindergarten kids of Nabila village (on your left) now know what it's like to grow up and never have to worry about water borne sickness again. Every family in that village has their own clean drinking water filter in their home!

The thought of changing the world can seem like a daunting task sometimes, but there are simple ways to make an impact. Giving the gift of clean drinking water is one of them.

Here's to changing a country!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Give Clean Water & the 2013 Volcom Fiji Pro

It's been a while. So many good things happening in my world. One of the upcoming cool events in my life will be participating in this year's 2013 Volcom Fiji Pro with Give Clean Water. The event runs from June 2nd - 14th.

Give Clean Water is teaming up with Volcom and Tavarua Island to install clean drinking water filters in 2 villages in Fiji. 34 of the top surfers in the world will take part in one of the most elite surf contests on the planet. As part of the contest, there will a day of service in which the surfers, sponsors, and event staff will travel to Cuvu village for a day of water filter installs. Each family in that village will receive a water filter kit capable of providing a lifetime of bacteria free drinking water.

Give Clean Water is committed to the sustainability of the clean drinking water project in Fiji, working with the Fiji Ministry of Health to follow up in each of the villages that receive water filters. Together, the partnership of Volcom, Tavarua Island, and Give Clean Water is making a huge impact on the lives of the people of Fiji!

The bonus of this trip...some of the best surf in the world! The ASP world tour is not only full of great surfers, but great people who love making a difference in the world. Last year's day of service included surfing greats Kelly Slater, CJ Hobgood, and big wave rider Alex Grey!

You can check out all the action of this year's contest on the Volcom website, or by downloaded the Volcom app on your smart device.